Pirates Down the Street 2: The Ninjas from Across – Matthijs Kieboom

One of the problems with Dutch films is that they do not have the budget of big Hollywood blockbusters. This results in many budget-friendly movies like romantic comedies and movies for children. The budget constraint is also noticeable in the soundtracks, with most music being  played by only a handful of instruments or focused on artificial sounds (or a mix of both). Luckily for those who, like me, love orchestral scores, there are some exceptions, with Matthijs Kieboom being one of them. Many of his recent scores have been recorded in Prague with a full orchestra, including the wonderful score for the children’s movie Pirates Down the Street. The music for its sequel Pirates Down the Street 2: The Ninjas from Across has been recorded in the Czech capital as well. So of course I went to the movie theater once again, in the middle of families with small children, to see what the new score was about.

First of all, I recognized almost all the themes from the first film. The main pirates theme is still a pleasure to listen to. The album begins with this theme in “Opening,” in which you can hear it in its full and glorious orchestral form, perfectly fit for an adventure movie. The antagonist Cornelius returns in this second installment, so his dark and ominous theme can be heard again as well, like, for example, in “Cornelius.” The last theme from the first movie that returns is the friendship theme, as can be heard, for example, at the beginning of “Friends.”

For The Ninjas From Across new characters are introduced: the Kitana family, who are the ninjas, and three new themes are based around them. The first theme represents the mother and daughter, as can be heard as a second theme in “Opening” after the pirates theme, beautifully performed on a violin. The second new theme for this movie can be heard right after this solo, representing the eternal conflict between the pirates and ninjas, with the melody initially played on a flute before the French Horns take it over. The last new theme represents the love between several characters in the movie. The best version of this theme can be heard at the beginning of “Finale,” performed again on a flute.

As with the first Pirates Down The Street, a song is part of the movie too. This time it is “We’ll Be Winning,” which is a battle song. The melody is not used as a recurring theme in the movie, but you can hear it once again in “Cornelius on Land,” which is a wonderful cue, enhancing the orchestra with rock elements.

In a movie about pirates and ninjas, multiple action sequences can be expected. In this film the ninjas are secretly more like the good guys, and their fighting sequences are supported by heroic-sounding taiko drums, as can be heard, for example, in the second part of “Training by Night.” The real bad guys are the shinobi, and when they are on the screen, they are musically accompanied by electric guitars, for example at the beginning of “The Sword of the Elements,” making the difference between the shinobi and the ninjas clear to everybody in the audience.

What I love about this score is that not only the old and new melodious themes are recognizable but also how each of them is integrated into the film music. In every track on the album you can hear multiple themes flow into each other with ease, with the use of the full orchestra, electric guitars, taiko drums, other Eastern influences and melodies and sounds based on pirate chanteys. If you are familiar with my taste for film music, I tend to like orchestral scores with terrific themes, integrated marvelously into the music. The music for Pirates Down the Street 2: The Ninjas from Across perfectly fits that description. If you listen to the score without any context, you can imagine the music accompanying a Hollywood movie, and that makes me happy and sad at the same time. Kieboom’s soundtrack is excellent once again, but sadly we do not get these wonderfully orchestral Dutch scores that often. I am afraid I have to wait a couple of years again for another one. Hopefully, I will be wrong. The Netherlands deserves more movies with brilliant orchestral scores.

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Tracklist

The highlights are in bold.

  1. Opening (2:35)
  2. The Sword of the Elements (2:49)
  3. Friends (1:12)
  4. Get Lost (1:35)
  5. Ninjas (1:22)
  6. Training by Night (2:00)
  7. The Ninja Excuse (0:36)
  8. Duel (1:43)
  9. The Sword is Gone (1:44)
  10. Dining with the Neighbors (1:47)
  11. The Lighthouse (0:53)
  12. Cornelius (2:42)
  13. The Best Archenemy (0:43)
  14. Hector & Betsie (1:06)
  15. Truce (0:28)
  16. For Once and For All (1:25)
  17. We’ll Be Winning (1:54)
  18. Cornelius on Land (1:58)
  19. Mia Has Been Found (0:38)
  20. The Jump (1:24)
  21. Are You Afraid? (1:04)
  22. How Do You Know My Mother? (2:44)
  23. Cornelius & Mia (2:06)
  24. He’s Your Father (2:39)
  25. Face to Face (0:58)
  26. Everyone in Pursuit (1:16)
  27. Where Are You Going? (1:12)
  28. The Sword (1:41)
  29. Finale (2:52)

Total length: 47 minutes
MovieScore Media (2022)

Author

  • Anton is the editor-in-chief and founder of Soundtrack World. After writing about film music occasionally, he thought it was time to create his own site to celebrate music from film but also other media. Next to working on this website, Anton is a member of the International Film Music Critics Association, has a job in IT and plays the tuba in a local orchestra.

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